• Tuesday, April 16, 2024

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Met chief says he will be ruthless in rooting out racists as fresh scandal emerges

London mayor Sadiq Khan said that he expects more evidence of racism in the force to emerge in the coming weeks.

Sir Mark Rowley (Picture: Metropolitan Police)

By: Pramod Thomas

The Metropolitan police commissioner has promised that he ‘will be ruthless in rooting out’ racists from the force following the emergence of a WhatsApp group chat scandal involving serving and retired officers, according to reports.

Former Met officer Rob Lewis, who created the group, was suspended this week for posting ‘vile and deplorable’ racist and derogatory comments. Reports said that members in the group frequently used racist language and shared racist jokes and memes.

“I will be ruthless in rooting out those corrupting officers and staff, including racists and misogynists, from our organisation,” Sir Mark Rowley told the BBC.

“The Met has been far too weak in taking on those who undermine the honest and dedicated majority who determinedly serve the public. That will change and I will continue to seek out those, from both within and outside the Met, with that constructive anger who can help us reform.”

Following the incident, the Met said that a man in his 60s had been arrested on suspicion of offences under the Communications Act and misconduct in a public office, and remained in custody at a south London police station.

According to the MailOnline, the memes shared on the WhatsApp group include discriminatory jokes about black Londoners, the shooting of a BLM activist, the murder of George Floyd. Plight of domestic violence victims and Shamima Begum joining Scotland Yard as Commissioner in a burka-uniform were also discussed.

Meanwhile, London mayor Sadiq Khan said that he expects more evidence of racism in the force to emerge in the coming weeks.

“There’s going be further probable bad news in the next few week, with Dame Louise Casey publishing her interim report about what she has found. I asked her to look into the standards and culture. And I’m afraid her report may well be sober reading for those who are still in denial about the scale of problem,” Khan was quoted as saying by The Guardian.

Khan also used the latest disclosure of the group to justify him sacking former commissioner Cressida Dick. He also praised Sir Mark for admitting that there was indeed an issue.

“In the last 24 hours, a story is broken about another example of a culture of overt racism, sexism, misogyny, and the like. And what Londoners will see is a difference in response from this commissioner, who’s not in denial, or has not been defensive versus the previous one. And it’s one of the reasons why I lost confidence in her,” Khan told LBC.

“I think you can address this culture with the right leadership at the top. First you’ve got to recognise there’s a problem, and then take steps to address that.”

Former Met officer Dave Eden, who was a member in the same group since 2016, became the whistleblower in the latest incident as he shared the messages with the BBC. He initially leaked the hate content on a website run by journalist Michael Gillard.

Earlier this year, an official report revealed shocking details of officers sharing messages about hitting and raping women, as well as the deaths of black babies and the Holocaust. But the previous leadership denied the findings.

The new Met chief has launched a new initiative to give smartphones to officers to crack down on misconduct. It will be used to communicate with each other and collect evidence. Earlier, officers used their own phones for these purposes.

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